Opera North announces a brave new Autumn season as general director Richard Mantle and music director Richard Farnes lay out their ambitions for the coming year and beyond.

Three new productions - Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades, Handel's Giulio Cesare and Bellini's Norma - defy financial constraints and bear testament to the quality of singers now returning on a regular basis to the company. You don't mount these pieces unless you can cast them - the stakes are too high.

The combination of Orla Boylan and Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts in The Queen of Spades - the first large-scale opera staging for writer/director Neil Bartlett; Pamela Helen Stephen and Sarah Tynan in Giulio Cesare, and the return of the exciting American soprano Takesha Mashe Kizart as Norma gives the company truly international clout and as ever there are exciting newcomers - like the dashing young American tenor Noah Stewart who joins the revival of Madama Butterfly just as he is about to sign a major recording contract. And speaking of rising stars, John Wilson, fresh from his latest Prom triumph Hooray for Hollywood, returns for the revival of Gilbert and Sullivans' Ruddigore.

Farnes speaks of his pride in the Opera North Orchestra - Classic FM's Orchestra in Yorkshire - centre-stage for the company's four year journey through Wagner's Ring in concert stagings throughout the North.

This autumn the company heads south again and returns to London in an exciting new partnership with the Barbican. And looking ahead to next spring Opera North once again celebrates the American musical at its very finest: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Click below for more details...